The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that substance use among teens can:
Informed Families Blog
People make a lot of assumptions about what children and teens do or don't do when it comes to substance abuse. This can be based on the person's own experiences, what he or she sees on social media or in movies or what others may have experienced. Luckily, we don't have to assume, thanks to the Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey (FYSAS) report, which was just released for 2018.
The FYSAS was administered to almost 55,000 Florida students in 686 middle and high schools in February of 2018.
Here are some highlights from the report:
- Alcohol and cigarette use is declining. Between 2006 and 2018, past-month use of alcohol declined by 16.7 percent (11.7% for middle school students and 20.6% among high school students), binge drinking declined by 10 percent (5.3% for middle school students and 13.4% for high school students) and cigarette use declined by 8.1 percent (4.8% for middle school students and 10.6 percent reduction among high school students).
- Binge drinking is still an issue. One out of every 10 high school students reported binge drinking in the last 30 days and one out of seven reported blacking out from drinking.
Drug overdose was responsible for the loss of nearly 72,000 Americans in 2017, according to the Center for Disease Control & Prevention. That’s just under 200 people each day for the entire year - and 8,000 more deaths than the previous year, also a record year. At least 2/3 of those deaths were due to opioid abuse. Here are two trends that are contributing to this awful epidemic.
From Pills To Heroin
Patients receiving prescription drugs for pain as a result of an injury or recovering from surgery are often given significantly more than they need. While opioids are effective in managing pain, their addictive properties make them dangerous for long-term use.
How Large Is The Opioid Problem In Florida?
With the opioid epidemic sweeping the nation, Florida is certainly not immune. And apparently, the problem is getting worse. According to a recent report from Florida's medical examiners, there has been a dramatic 22% increase (2,126 more deaths) of in drug-related deaths from the prior year. The report also showed a 35% increase in opioid-related deaths (1,483 over the previous year for a total of 5,725).
Not suprisingly, more deaths were caused by prescription drugs than illicit drugs, accounting for 61% of all drug occurrences in the report. After all, availability and a low perception of harm lead to increased use and abuse.
The drugs that caused the most deaths were cocaine, benzodiazepines, fentanyl, morphine, heroin, alcohol, oxycodone, methadone and methamphetamine.
“Clearly, those are shocking numbers and we have got to do something about it,” said Senate Health Policy Chairwoman Dana Young, R-Tampa to The News Service of Florida.
Here are additional highlights from the report:
National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week To Be Celebrated In Schools Across Florida
Once again, Informed Families is partnering with NIDA to implement National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week in schools and communities across Florida. Specifically, Informed Families will provide science-based prevention materials to hundreds of schools as part of the 2018 Lock Your Meds Campaign.
Additionally, Informed Families will share NIDA's National Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge quiz (Test Your Knowledge Now) during National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, which helps teens test their knowledge about drugs, alcohol, and drug abuse with an interactive quiz.
A Time To Give Thanks
November signifies a time of gratitude for all things. As we gather with our families for delicious dinners prepared with the best trimmings, we reflect deeply on what truly means the most to us and express gratitude for those things.
After 35 years of providing families with the tools to help kids make healthy choices, I am extremely thankful for the success of Informed Families. This year, I have plenty to be thankful for.
I am thankful for the hard-working staff of Informed Families for working diligently to ensure that families and children are united to combat the social pressures of underage drinking and illegal drug use.
I am thankful for an active Board of Trustees, who altruistically dedicates their time to supporting our mission and achieving our vision.
Why Simple Things Really Do Make A Difference
Recently, I had the pleasure of attending the Annual Conference of the Institute of Coaching at Harvard Medical School. What’s the latest? We are all stressed, the world is spinning faster and we feel a loss of control, which is creating more anxiety. We live in a VUCA world…VUCA is an acronym for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity.
Some simple things to know are:
1. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. EVERYONE IS EXPERIENCING this rapid rate of change and uncertainty.
2. Don’t try to keep up or get ahead of the curve. Learn how to live effectively.
3. Put down and turn off the screens. We are driving OURSELVES CRAZY. Who said you had to respond to every email, tweet, and message?
4. Do Mindful meditation for yourself and with your family…there are proven health results.
We are a society addicted to experts, silver bullets and having the right answer, but the new research is showing that the expert is YOU. Being in Community with others is critical for health and wellness – and the first community we have is our family. We have an immunity to change; we tell ourselves something, but do something else. Yet, by spending time with ourselves and our families, we start to find meaningful answers.
Normal Day, Let Me Be Aware Of The Treasure You Are
If nothing else, Hurricane Irma helps us to greatly appreciate uneventful times and the normalcy of our regular routines.
We take normal routines for granted; we don’t think about electricity, cable, phones, etc. until they are not functioning. Then, we get anxious and angry…someone let us down! Who? FPL, the cable company, the city, surely there is someone to blame for inconveniencing my routine. Unfortunately, Mother Nature doesn’t care about inconvenience to my little routine.
Hurricanes get our attention and force us to reexamine our place in the universe. I love the line, “Do you want to make God laugh? Tell him your plans.” We witness resilience from people whose house and cars are destroyed. Most say the same thing, “we still have our lives.”
Normal Day, Let Me Be Aware Of The Treasure You Are for someday I will want to hold you and you will be gone. As our routines return to normal, let’s treasure each routine and normal day.
Let's Hold The Media, Our Systems & Ourselves Accountable By Asking "WHY," Not Just WHAT"
A recent People magazine cover story focused on 135 faces of opioid epidemic victims. We appreciate the magazine’s coverage of this national crisis.
However, have you noticed the news is always reporting WHAT, WHAT, WHAT AND rarely WHY, WHY, WHY?
Why is the opioid crisis happening?
Visible & Invisible "Human Chains" Save Lives
To save a desperate, drowning family, 80 Florida citizens made a human chain on Panama City Beach in early July. What a beautiful reminder that by working together, we all have the power to keep children and families safe. News reports spoke of the dozens of beachgoers lining up in response to the desperate mother’s cries, organizing themselves by skill level, with the stronger swimmers in the deeper water and others standing closer to the shore.
A tragedy was prevented and the story spread like wildfire. Why? Because the story warmed our hearts. Who doesn’t love a story about a large group of complete strangers coming together to save children in danger?
That’s what Informed Families’ supporters do each year…they build a network of people to help kids grow up safe, healthy and drug free. Donors, volunteer Ambassadors, educators, counselors, parents, schools, law enforcement and community organizations form networks to take our four campaigns and prevention messages to schools, building safety nets for children across Florida.